On too many occasions to mention I have been asked what’s the best thing about teaching. My usual and perhaps predictable reply is something along the lines of you never quite know what’s going to happen. Yes, I’m teaching Romeo and Juliet for the umpteenth time and yes, trying to explain that ‘specific’ and ‘Pacific’ really are two different words does get a little wearing. But the truth is working with teenagers is a fantastically unpredictable business. Yet today has seen me break new ground. Today I had to cut a student free. From a chair.
Admittedly, Charlie is only a slip of a lad. The type of student whose blazer bought at the start of Year 7 will see him right through to Year 11. Nothing much too him really. Five stone soaking wet. Which he often is. Today while arguing about his latest detention Charlie managed to pop his knee through the gap in the backrest of a plastic chair. Shouts of “come on Charlie, get up. Stop messing and get yourself off home” soon changed to “someone get a first aider” as Charlie’s knee started to swell and bruise in front of our eyes.
After some gentle tugs and wiggles of the chair it was clear that the boy was stuck. Trapped. And now not hiding the fact that he was in pain. Into this still farcical scene stepped Jeff. Caretaker Jeff. A man armed, not with a first aid kit, but a tool kit. As Charlie lay back with the blue plastic chair pinning him down, Jeff and I gently set to work. Fifteen minutes later after a sustained but dextrous bout of sawing Charlie was free from his confinement. Regaining his feet like a new born deer, Charlie thanked his liberators and quickly informed the crowd that had gathered, most of which had their camera phones capturing the episode, that if anybody put it on YouTube he’d “fookin’ batter ’em”. As for the teachers that had gathered? Well they slowly retreated to offices to release a tide of stifled laughter and welcome the half-term holiday.